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This entry was posted on Sunday, December 26th, 2010 at 2:37 pm and is filed under Archive.
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There was a detailed survey of solving difficulty in the various crosswords series under the heading “Which cryptic is the hardest?” on this website on 22 May 2012 – which would be findable using the calendar.
Thanks for the tip, nmsindy, and, more notably, for starting an interesting discussion with your post of 22 May 2012. In my own (comparatively limited) experience, I also have found the FT, on average, easier than the Guardian (though the one Everyman I did was on par with the FT, if not easier). PE/Cyclops appears to be, as Monty Python might say, something completely different (in terms of cheekiness). I have yet to try the Indy (doesn’t seem printable) or the Telegraph (requires a subscription). Again, thank you.
Hi Gaufrid; whenever I try to print the Indy it just prints a single page with only some of the clues and most of the grid missing [it's too large for the page.] I can’t see any way of printing the whole puzzle. Any ideas?
I am extremely grateful to the bloggers for their time and effort in producing the blogs for 225. It is always nice to have the clues in the blog, especially if one does a site search for a clue or answer. It seems that there is a readily available piece of software potentially available to bloggers, so it would be good if they were encouraged to use it. I know that Andrew raised some objection to including the clues, but I did not really understand it. Is it reasonable to ask bloggers to add the clues or should we just leave it to their discretion? It is rather frustrating when using the excellent site search to find that the clue is missing and to have to find the original source to check the clue. Any comments?
Hi Robi @ 304
I assume you are trying to print from Crossword Solver and that you have ticked the ‘fit on page’ box. I have not had any problems with printing from this program but I know someone who has and who has been unable to find a solution.
If you have the latest appropriate printer driver installed on your machine I can only suggest that you download and install a virtual printer driver (I use Cute PDF Writer) and when ‘printing’ from Crossword Solver select this instead of your default printer to create a PDF file which can then be saved, opened and printed. A little more effort but once you get used to the routine it should only take a minute or so to obtain the print.
Hi Robi @305
This question has been raised before and I hope my reply will be the same as the one I gave previously. I do not wish to impose a particular style on bloggers because I would prefer them to have pretty much a free hand when it comes to content and presentation (within certain bounds of course). Then comes the time constraints due to work and other commitments that some bloggers have which dictates how they prepare a blog and how much goes into it.
If my memory serves me correctly, last time this was discussed at least one person said that they would prefer not to have the available software used for every blog because the ensuing lack of variety would soon become monotonous. I tend to agree with this but I also agree that, when delving back into the archives, I have found that having the clues included would have been helpful.
I have had no difficulty accessing the FT pdf files using IE10. I have just checked again and they still download without any problems. I have no idea what your problem may be so, sorry, I cannot provide any help.
It was good to meet you in Sheffield on Saturday. As I mentioned, it was the first event of the kind that I had attended, and my wife and I could not have had a warmer welcome. I certainly took no offence at all at the good natured teasing, and if you look at the Times for the Times blog today you will find me beating myself up again over an error. In fact, I find it quite funny that we sometimes go to great lengths to try to justify an error, and some contributors who made the same mistake as me have suggested ways of varying plausibility so to do. I prefer to give credit to the setter for a clever misdirection that has led me right down the garden path and left me to talk to the fairies. After all, what fun would it be to get all the answers right every day?
Since posting earlier today, I have made some further progress with the ‘Freedom Pass’ puzzle, though the grid is still about half empty, or, to be more optimistic, is now about half full.
At Sheffield, I also spoke to Dave Howell, who I first met about 20 years’ ago at the Leeds Regional round of the Times Championship. He finished fourth in this year’s competition, but feels that he has slowed over the intervening period. Conversely, I am sure that I am both quicker and complete a higher proportion of puzzles, so, logically, if I manage to live to be 120 I should be a real contender.
All best wishes, and continue to enjoy your solving
Brendan (not that one), I am indeed from the Netherlands but live and work in the UK since 2007. About a year after my arrival I started doing crosswords (although I had a history in similar and other Dutch puzzles).
The reason I post late is that, being a teacher, there is usually no time for me to look at a crossword during the day.
I do the Guardian after work, most of the time together with Beth (my PinC) with a nice cup of coffee at hand. After that I’ll have to do something about the inner man.
So, once I am ready for some comments it is 8pm plus, long after everything’s already been said.
I used to comment a lot more in the past.
Nowadays, I am only there when I think I really have to say something about a puzzle that might be of interest to someone.
On the other hand, I do not like all these sometimes ongoing discussions and try to keep far from them.
I like to ask questions that make people think but often it is too late for an audience.
At times, I feel the need to analyse crosswords, especially when I think a crossword is rather special.
Also, over the years I have learnt quite a lot more about crosswords through this unbeatable website but also through contacts with other solvers, bloggers and setters.
Knowing more led to asking less.
I always suspected that you must be in the UK as your English is so good and that you are able to do the Guardian cryptic. Although, as you are aware, English is usually spoken very well by most people in the Netherlands. (I also spent quite a lot of time in Amsterdam, Den Haag and Scheveningen when I worked for Shell.)
My decision to leave my native country was in the eyes of many a rather abrupt one. But for me it wasn’t – well, it was perhaps, however I just switched the button after things were lurking in the back of my mind for quite some time.
When I left, one of my colleagues who had lived in England for more than 20 years said: it’ll take you at least 3 years to think in English.
It wasn’t like that.
As I have a job in which I have to talk a lot and also because I am someone who picks up things quite quickly, I felt like a fish in the sea after only a few months.
Actually, nowadays there are occasions on which I find it hard to find the Dutch equivalent for terms that are familiar to me in English.
Of course, I still make mistakes. but.
I started solving and compiling (well, not professionally, just for friends) when I was 9 or 10 years old. No cryptics , just all kinds of other word puzzles.
By the time I went to university I got interested in the Dutch variant of cryptic crosswords. In those days I compiled a number of puzzles for a student magazine.
In the 20 years or so that followed I wrote down loads of ideas (for Dutch cryptics) on little pieces of paper.
After I moved to the UK, Beth (who is a very good solver, much better than I am) introduced me to the world of English cryptics.
I treasure the moments of us sitting in The Orchard in Grantchester tackling Araucaria, the Summer of 2008 – my way into crosswords ….
Purely by accident, I discovered Paul’s Cryptica website which had a clue competition for which I submitted over a 100 clues. Apparently, Paul liked many of these because about 60% got a mention. Another frequent ‘visitor’ at that time was someone called Neil Walker who we all know and like as Tramp (or Jambazi) nowadays.
Next, I discovered Fifteensquared and Crossword Compiler (main aim: to do something with my hundreds of Dutch clues).
Once again, purely by accident.
I really learned a lot over the years.
Rufus is not always well appreciated by solvers but for me he was important as he made me familiar with a lot of idiomatic expressions that I hadn’t heard of before.
My take on cryptic clues is mainly based on constructions.
I am quite good at breaking down a clue in pieces. Perhaps, being someone from abroad (not hindered by surfaces) was even something of an advantage.
For me, the construction, the technical bit should be right, should come first.
A great surface is a real bonus.
Setters who combine the two (eg Picaroon, Arachne, Orlando, Redshank and Bradman) come top of the list closely followed by the likes of Paul, Monk and Alberich (and Donk, Rorschach, Qaos and eXternal – to name some new kids on the broadsheet block).
At S&B meetings I am perhaps the only one from outside the UK/Ireland/US but I feel completely at ease.
I do about 15 crosswords a week and I like it!
So, to answer your question: no, I do not think in terms of “from English to Dutch and back” anymore.
[bit of a long way to get to that answer, isn't it? ]
The last thing I want is for anyone to be annoyed regarding any contravention of site policy on account of me, and out of respect for the professional setters whose puzzles are up for discussion on a daily basis I quite take Rhotician’s point on today’s Pasquale blog. Having said that, I am naturally keen for a) my puzzles to have as wide an audience as possible (and hopefully for people to enjoy them) and b) to improve through hearing the thoughts of people who have tried them, whether they thought my efforts good, bad or indifferent. My email address is freely given on the crossword.info website – my archive is accessible via the link in my name here. If anyone has a comment but would prefer to remain anonymous and not enter into email correspondence with me then I will almost certainly pick up any comments left on the daily Guardian blog as Rhotician suggests.
The fuss is about me, me. The Sheffield Mitz is #22. When George commented on #1 I panicked. I foresaw a host of interleaved references to puzzles I hadn’t got round to. Followed by solicitations for feedback from the other DIYers. Anax kindly found me an Indy with his tribute to JH and I want to tackle that before the blog comes out. I can’t cope. And I don’t make enough use of my bus pass as it is.
Mitz, you’re a gentleman and a scholar and I wish you luck. I’ve never been very good at constructive criticism, though. The other sort is much easier.
Hiya – A little while ago I used some computer geek magic to grab all of the freely available cryptic puzzles from the Guardian web-site, and convert them into .puz format so I could do them on my smartphone – in total I’ve got over 3500 of them.
Assuming the moderators here are happy about it (and I’m assuming there’s no legal issue here, all I’ve done is to reformat some freely available stuff) – then I’m happy to share this archive if anyone is interested.
Hi does anyone use the iPad to do the Guardian cryptic online? When I try this just in Safari, I have to click into each cell to type in one letter. Then the keypad disappears and I have to click in the next cell to enter one more letter. How do I set up to just type in letters and the cursor moves to the next cell?